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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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Abu Dhabi commits to 'impressive' Relentless
Abu Dhabi Aviation has signed a letter of intent for ten Bell 525 Relentless helicopters. The operator selected the Bell 525 as it is well-suited to supporting missions based in the UAE, including offshore oil and gas, emergency medical support, vip transport, firefighting and search and rescue.
Read this story in our March 2014 printed issue.

Abu Dhabi Aviation has signed a letter of intent for ten Bell 525 Relentless helicopters. The operator selected the Bell 525 as it is well-suited to supporting missions based in the UAE, including offshore oil and gas, emergency medical support, vip transport, firefighting and search and rescue. The company is now one of Bell's leading customers for the Middle East, Africa and Eurasia, having operated a total of 38 Bell aircraft over a 30-year period. It has traditionally favoured the 412 and 212 models, flying more than 750,000 hours. After the unveiling of the 525 in 2012, Abu Dhabi expressed an interest in diversifying its fleet with the latest type.

The Bell 525 is one of the world's first fly-by-wire commercial helicopters, able to operate in 'austere' environments safely, with decreased pilot workload. It has a touch screen Garmin G5000H glass flight deck, GE engines and Bell's lift assist tail boom design technology for improved hover performance. It can accommodate 16 passengers and two crew members and has a cruise speed of 155 knots with a range of 500 nm. Virtual flight testing is under way in Bell's system integration lab, and its maiden flight is set for late this year. Two airframes are currently in assembly.

Says Jack Lunn, operations director: “I see us expanding heavily in the offshore market following this commitment to the 525 programme. The company has positioned itself as a much bigger worldwide player. Bell Helicopters has maintained the best aircraft inventory support of any OEM for the last 20 years. Product support is a huge thing in our environment, giving us the ability to maintain our fleet for our offshore clients.”

Lunn adds: “I've been in the industry 42 years and I've never seen anything like this 'fourth generation' helicopter – it is extremely impressive.”

He points out that, even with the range figures being released now, the Relentless far outperforms the operator's current AW helicopters: “We are happy with our Agusta aircraft, but right now, in my opinion, nothing can compete with Bell.”

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